2011 USA trip - aka mice & wizards & pirates, oh my!

Discussion in 'Australia' started by alicia1506, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. alicia1506

    alicia1506 DIS Veteran

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    this will be my first ever PTR morphing into a TR for our trip, so be gentle with me :) so to commence, a little back story for those of you unfamiliar with me, the crazy planner (aka, alicia) and my peeps.

    17 months ago, my sister turned to me and said that WWOHP was due to open, and she was going to fly to Orlando to visit it for her birthday (June 2010) as a special present to herself. this solo trip was shouted down by other family members as being extravagant & a waste of time/money, too dangerous to travel on her own and so on and so forth, and so she eventually decided not to go... feeling bad for her, i said we should go together for a 'girls only, joint birthday trip (our bdays are 3 days apart) and we should do it up right, but for 2011, as finances precluded me from just hopping on a plane at that point... so it began, the trip planning, for me and my sister to fly to orlando, from brisbane. then, my BF heard about the trip and kicked up a fusss, cause dammit he wanted to come too... then he wanted another boy on the trip, cause his brother wanted in, so we decided a little sibling rivalry couldn't hurt, and it became the schultz sisters vs the blanch brothers, and we were set... and then the brother had to bow out, so it became the three of us in a quest for fun and adventure across the USA.

    so, the players:

    Alicia (the crazy one) - i've just turned 30 and this is our first trip outside AUS. I'm the one with OCD and mad planning skillz, yo. I live for lists and colour charts and time/motion studies. wasted time kills me, hence my travel style is more commando than relax on the beach, although i will ALWAYS stop for a good smoothie, cheesecake or alcoholic beverage.

    Katrina (the sister) - she is 24 and the initial trip concept is her idea, so she gets both credit for the idea and the window seat on all the plane rides. Trina is fabulous, has a wicked sense of humour, and will claw you if you talk to her in the morning before she has fully decided she's ready for you to be in her space. this photo is of us - she is the blonde, i'm the brunette :) [​IMG]

    Carlo (the BF) - is 33 and the one who added DLR to the trip. He gets props for that, and for his support over the last 12 months while I slowly morphed into fire-breathing dragon b!t#h lady with the stress of planning this trip ourselves. He's sweet, supportive and incredibly good natured, and he loves me back... what more could a girl ask for? He's also funny and gets along great with Trina, which is a must. [​IMG]

    So, it was decided pretty early on that I could save squillions of dollars by not going through a travel agent for our trip. They loved to quote us hotels and flights that were more $$ than we could book ourselves, and due to their reciprocal arrangements with hotels/flight partners, they couldn't always get us the hotel we'd wanted, or the flight we wanted, on the airline we wanted.. so began 12 months of me scouring the interwebs for the greatest deals, the most optimal flights, the least amount of layovers, the best possible way to fit all of our trip into such a short space of time... and did i mention... we all only have 3 weeks off work, so we're cramming 4 cities across the entire breadth of the USA into 2.5 weeks...

    the final itinerary looks like this:

    Sun Nov 6 - 10am VAustralia flight BNE-LAX. arrive LAX 6am local time Nov 6
    Disneyland Resort Express shuttle bus to DLR, dump bags at hotel, spend full day at DLR and DCA, including WOC show. go back to hotel around 4, move bags to hotel room, quick shower/change then back to DLR for dinner/WOC. in bed by 10pm.

    Mon Nov 7 - full day at DLR and DCA from open to close

    Tue Nov 8 - check out of hotel at 7am, dump bags with bellhop, head to DLR for MM entry at 8am. stay in DCA and DLR for whole day until approx 4pm. collect bags from bellhop at hotel, board DLR express shuttle back to LAX by 5.30-6pm. board flight at 9pm from LAX to JFK.

    Wed Nov 9 - flight arrives JFK at 5am. head to hotel, dump bags at hotel, have breakfast in NYC. jump on our hop on-hop off tour & see the sights. back to hotel around 4pm for check in, then back on a night tour of NYC lights.

    Thur Nov 10 - all day in NYC, sightseeing

    Fri Nov 11 - all day in NYC, sightseeing. Early to bed as we are up early tomorrow.

    Sat Nov 12 - up at 2.30 am to check out of hotel, cab to JFK for 6am flight to MCO. Arrive MCO 8.45am. shuttle transport to Royal Pacific Resort at Universal studios, dump bag, head to WWOHP. spend all day in parks, return at park closing to check in and relax in room.

    Sun Nov 13 - up at 5am for 6am EE to WWOHP for the celebration of the movies package. breakfast at 3 broomsticks, Q&A with HP cast members at 1pm in Toon Lagoon. rest of the day in Universal/Islands of Adventure.

    Mon Nov 14 - sleep in & shopping at Florida Mall, Orlando. lazy afternoon.

    Tue Nov 15 - full day at universal/WWOHP/IOA

    Wed Nov 16 - half day at universal/WWOHP/IOA or shopping. leave hotel at 12 for shuttle back to MCO. arrive MCO approx 1pm for 3.50pm flight to LAS. arrive LAS around 6.15pm, check into Tropicana hotel.

    Thur Nov 17 - sightseeing in Vegas, relaxing by the pool

    Fri Nov 18 - sightseeing by day, Mystere by Cirque du Soleil at TI at night

    Sat Nov 19 - sightseeing, maybe a trip to GC for Carlo, while Alicia & Trina have a day at the spa.

    Sun Nov 20 - sightseeing and relaxing, maybe O by Cirque du Soleil at Bellagio

    Mon Nov 21 - lazy morning sleep in, check out, maybe have a quick gamble on the 1c machines before heading to the airport around 1pm for a 4.30pm flight from LAS to LAX. flight arrives LAX around 5.30 pm. check in for our LAX to BNE flight which departs at 10.55pm. homeward bound.. arrive home at 7am on Nov 23.

    links to the TR entries:

    Day 1 aka no sleep & no play: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43355152&postcount=32

    Day 1 continued: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43355481&postcount=33

    Day 2 aka the day we tried to do everything and failed: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43355620&postcount=34

    Day 3 aka DCA for the win -- or, you know, not so much: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43355780&postcount=35

    Day 4 & 5 aka where everything goes to pot: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43357971&postcount=40

    Day 6 aka where we discover NY is C.O.L.D: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43358202&postcount=41

    Day 7 aka 5 star luxury -- but at a price: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43358970&postcount=42

    Day 8 aka our trip's raison d'etre: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43364053&postcount=49

    Day 8 continued: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43366722&postcount=53

    Day 9 aka water & our near death experience: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43366841&postcount=54

    Day 10 aka if you could do whatever you wanted: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43383286&postcount=55

    Day 11 aka omg, would you look at the size of that bill!!: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43389692&postcount=56

    Day 12 aka where everything we want to see breaks down: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43403793&postcount=62

    Day 13 aka Serendipity take 2 + other sights: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43416156&postcount=65

    Day 14 aka total relaxation day turns into Front Desk Nighmare day: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43416382&postcount=66

    Day 15 aka technological marvels & diner food: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43416555&postcount=67

    Day 16 aka we're coming home, australia!!: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43416840&postcount=69
     
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  3. alicia1506

    alicia1506 DIS Veteran

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    so it's 48 hrs out from our flight departure time and we're relatively organised... we have our USD cash and our Travel Money cards (commbank) and our credit cards, the banks have been notified, we have our packing lists typed up, our letters from our doctors regarding our prescription medicines, our in case of emergency numbers, copied of our itineries and all our confirmation numbers (e and paper versions), our travel gear, our luggage, our luggage tags & carousel identifiers (bright purple curling ribbon wrapped around the luggage handle) and all of the extraneous stuff taken care of, we still have to:

    - clean the house from top to bottom as i refuse to come home to a messy house
    - pack!!! (i have been putting all our luggage/clothes/travel gear etc in the spare room for weeks now.. but i want to pack last minute with our packing list to make sure there's absolutely nothing we forget.. will report back on how well this strategy unfolds :scared1:)
    - do laundry -- some of the clothes we have worn through the week will be coming on the trip with us, so this means a lot of laundry to do - also, i don't want to come home to dirty laundry :)
    - run a few errands such as picking up new prescriptions, getting my hair done (i don't want to look like a hobo (much) in our lovely trip photos) and buying a few last minute travel accessories
    - set up net banking to pre-pay the bills
    - set up net banking to pre-pay the rent for whilst we're away
    - arrange with the neighbours to collect any parcels delivered whilst we're away
    - pre-book our taxi pickup for 6am on sunday
    - book our spa appointments for vegas

    i'm actually starting to get excited, and i promise we'll be taking lots and lots and lots of photos, especially food porn as well as all the interesting bits and pieces along the way.. as we ended up losing one of our originally scheduled travellers (carlo's brother calin), we have purchased a really cute build-a-bear named after him, and will be taking him on the trip, taking photos and then giving the bear, plus photo scrap book to calin as a momento when we get back :)

    so can't wait for this to actually happen... we plan on updates from the road as a mini-TR then a full blown TR when we get back with all the photos/interesting stuff.

    it's taken 12 months and endless cups of coffee, endless arguments and endless shuffling of the funds, but we're finally here and it's finally happening. pinch me, i think we might actually be in Disneyland in 2 more days :yay::yay::yay::yay:
     
  4. Travel Mum

    Travel Mum DIS Veteran

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    WOW, your trip sounds both amazing and exhausting!! :cool1: I hope you have a great time though and it must be really exciting that it is almost here! :banana:
     
  5. alicia1506

    alicia1506 DIS Veteran

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    yes, the first couple of days are going to be gruelling, so we have decided to fuel up on caffeine (BF is a bear without it anyways, lol :scared1:) and lots of high energy snacks/foods but still try to eat as healthy as possible... then have a little sleep in while we're in NY, hit it hard in Orlando, then totally chill it down in Vegas where we can lie around in our king bed suites all day if we want :)

    we really wanted to see it and this was the best way to make it happen... I imagine the touring plan will fall apart the minute our feet hit US soil though, but that's the fun part of trips, right...? right? god, i hope it's fun and not hell on earth :) :banana:
     
  6. WAMUMOF4

    WAMUMOF4 DIS Veteran

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    :cool1::cool1: wow that sounds like an awesome trip:dance3:
    Have a great time :cheer2::cheer2::cheer2:
     
  7. Mum from oz

    Mum from oz DIS Veteran

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    That sounds like an awesome trip. Although you are right, very commando style! You will have fun and make sure you just go with the flow if something in you plan goes awry.

    Have a great time! Look forward to hearing all about it. Oh an looking at food porn! popcorn::
     
  8. aussietravellers

    aussietravellers who LOVE disney holidays!

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    What a fabulous trip you have planned. Can't wait to read the TR and see all the photos (and food porn :cool1: )

    Have a fantastic time :wizard:
     
  9. Toy Story

    Toy Story DIS Veteran

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    Have a great trip, hope you have shopping time planned for NY!
     
  10. australiankaren

    australiankaren I do love me my free H20...thank you Mickey.....DV

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    hey
    have a great time..and take some warm gear for NYC......snow.....but LA will be lovely ........and orlando you will just need a light jacket maybe at night.

    Enjoy!!:goodvibes
     
  11. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    enjoy! Sounds like a full-on fun trip. :thumbsup2
     
  12. alicia1506

    alicia1506 DIS Veteran

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    thanks everyone for the good wishes... as of 4.15pm we are officially on holiday, although we don't leave the house til 6am sunday, for our 10.55am flight out or Brisbane International. :banana::banana:

    We have a few last minute errands tomorrow morning (doctor's visit and shave and a haircut for the BF) and then cleaning/packing for the rest of the day, while charging up all our electronics and checking/rechecking everything. :cheer2:

    we really are excited that we made this opportunity happen for ourselves, after having lived on coffee & yoghurt and forgoing birthday presents/date nights and all kinds of other induldgences for the last 12 months :woohoo:

    our travel style will be very commando, and that massage & pedi i have booked in vegas will be the light at the end of the tunnel for me, as i don't think i will make it otherwise :)

    we plan on hitting up some shopping in NY, but nothing planned like in Orlando. we do plan on a full outing to FAO Schwarz as the boyfriend really wants a muppet what-not and I had promised him one. Trina (sister) loves the idea of the world's largest toy store as well, so I think we'll be spending quite a bit of time there :)

    I have appointed myself official trip photographer, as photography is my passion and with such a rich canvas as our trip across the USA, it's my job to record it all ... so i'm taking my trusty panasonic and a whole slew of spare memory cards, and we're hitting the road come Sunday morning. :love:
     
  13. Snickals

    Snickals Australian Princess...in Training

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    Your holiday sounds amazing!!! Have a wonderful time and I look forward to reading about your adventures! :cool1:
     
  14. alicia1506

    alicia1506 DIS Veteran

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    will be uploading some pre-trip photos soon -- just figured out how to use photobucket :)

    will also try and upload from the road, if i can convince trina to let me use her laptop :upsidedow :angel::upsidedow

    so we'll see how that goes. getting pretty excited now :) we will be taking on-plane pics of stuff like seats/food/outside window shots as well, as i want this to be pretty detailed... hope that's ok with everyone :)
     
  15. OzCath

    OzCath Mouseketeer

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    Hope you guys have an amazing trip. We can't wait to hear all about it.
     
  16. Caroline NZ

    Caroline NZ DIS Veteran

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    Your trips sounds full on amazing Alicia :cool1:. I hope you all have an awesome time. I am looking forward to your photos and trip report :thumbsup2
     
  17. alicia1506

    alicia1506 DIS Veteran

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    so our spectacular strategy of packing at the last minute went horribly awry.. more details on that when we have a chance to update from the road.

    our cab is on it's way to pick us up to head off to BNE for the start of this much awaited, much planned for, much strategised trip.

    god, we need caffeine -- we feel ridiculously hung over and we've not had a drop to drink :(

    wish us luck... i think we'll need it as i can feel the touring plan spiralling out of control already :)

    but in about 20 hrs, we'll be standing at the front gates of DLR!!! :banana::banana::banana:
     
  18. areweindisneyyet

    areweindisneyyet DIS Veteran

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    Safe travels Alicia

    Have a wonderful time, and if you have forgotten something buy it.
     
  19. australiankaren

    australiankaren I do love me my free H20...thank you Mickey.....DV

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    hey
    have a fantastic and relaxing trip..and dont forget.....we shop to help their economy..so get out there and make us proud..:thumbsup2
     
  20. Caroline NZ

    Caroline NZ DIS Veteran

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    Good luck for sticking to your touring plans. and if you don't, well have a blast anyway:yay:
     
  21. Mum from oz

    Mum from oz DIS Veteran

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    Have a safe flight and an awesome trip! :goodvibes
     

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